The Japanese actor who made the beast Godzilla come to life, Haruo Nakajima, died on Monday. He died of pneumonia, aged 88.
Nakajima played Godzilla in the 1954 original, wearing the Godzilla suit which weighed about 220 pounds and made from ready-mixed concrete.
Nakajima started off as a stunt actor in Akira Kurosawa’s legendary 1954 film Seven Samurai. In an interview with the Great Big Story earlier this year, he recalled how he was considered for the role of Gozilla on the set of a WWII film.
“There was a scene where an airplane was on fire and an actor had to jump out of it. That was my role,” he said. “Mr. Honda saw this scene and thought, ‘This guy is full of energy.’ They came to see me as someone who had guts, and I think that’s why they wanted me for the role of Godzilla.”
Studying large animals in the Tokyo zoo to prepare him for the role, he said the suit still posed a major challenge due to its weight and material.
In the film, Godzilla emerges from the ocean depths after a nuclear test and goes on a rampage through Tokyo.
Nakajima played the character of Rodan, Mothra and King Kong and acted in several movies. His last act in the suit was in Godzilla vs. Gigan in 1972.
Godzilla remains featured in most Hollywood and Japanese movies and sometimes created using computer graphics.